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Manitou Candle Co.

My girls know I love new experiences!  For my birthday this year, they got together and surprised me by scheduling a class at Manitou Candle Co., a new place on Eastern Avenue.  Ain’t nothing better than a girl’s day out! Plus, I’ve never really made candles before . . . well, unless you count that time at youth camp when we learned about the Colonial Days! Pretty sure we made those candles out of rendered animal fat.  Yep, this is different.  Much different.  

4015 Eastern Ave.

The environment at Manitou Candle Co. is bright, clean and welcoming.  This simplicity makes picking from the nearly 100 scents less daunting.  We also found the staff sweet and enthusiastic.  

Manitou is an inviting space.

Classes take place in the back room; I was geeky excited when I saw all my tools neatly arranged at my seat.  Once we began, our teacher asked each of us to call out our favorite smells.  Certain smells correlate with numbers on a personal notepad.  As people take turns sharing, students circle numbers that correspond with individual likes.  Or, you can eliminate scents that you know you don’t like.   For example, I’m not into citrus or flowery smells (X on those), but others were all about those smells.  I tend to prefer clean, minty, and herbal (big circles on those numbers)!  

Look how pretty that set up is!

This is such a smart way to begin; otherwise, we’d still be there sniffing 100 different canisters.  Trust me; the pressure to get just the right combo is a real thing! Some of us blended fragrances while others stuck with 100% of one.  

One scent combo.

Each person makes two of the same candles.  It would be even better to make two different candles, but I understand it’s because of the mixing process.  My friend Korie and I agreed to share our candles so that in the end, we had two totally different scents that we each loved.   One of my favorite parts?  You get to name your candle company and you get to name your candle. I’m sorry, but that’s just cool! So cool! Our “company”, M + K Scentsation, created Happy Trees and Gentle Man.  I’m absolutely certain these could be best sellers.  You’re intrigued, right?!

One of our candles!

Candles in process.

I’ve seriously been burning my candles almost daily- one in the bedroom and one in the living room.  Because soy burns cooler, I get to enjoy these beauties longer than I would other candles. Also, because these candles are all soy based, the burn is clean and non-toxic.   Not only did I get time with some of my favorite peeps, but I got two beautiful gifts as well.  Six girls= six totally unique candles.  Love the individuality of the process.

The girls!

I am already excited to go back to Manitou Candle Co.  I might make Christmas gifts . . . or, I could just make more for myself.  (wink. wink.)  If you don’t feel like attending a workshop, please stop in and purchase ready-made candles!

If you dig craft beer, Streetside Brewery is next door!  Grab a drink when you’ve finished your candles.  They have a nice outdoor patio.

GO THERE (Manitou Candle Co.)! TRY THAT (Workshop)! 


A Perfectly Impromptu Cincy Date Night

Last Friday our evening plans were unexpectedly canceled.  Part of me wanted to stay in, take a gloriously long nap, put on pj’s, and bin watch episodes of The British Baking Show! Friday after work can be brutal.  But, I knew my husband was looking forward to the grand opening of Braxton’s new Lab so I freshened my face, put on a cute outfit, and decided to make the best of a beautiful evening.  I am so incredibly thankful I did because Friday night turned out to be THE BEST DATE NIGHT EVER and 99% was completely spontaneous.

We started at Braxton’s new location which is connected to Party Source in Newport.  It was packed!  From what I hear, Ei8ht Ball Brewing used to house here.  I’m not sure what it looked like then, but the bar area looks great and there’s a sweet back patio.  Because it’s a Brew Lab, you can find small batch beers from other breweries and Braxton beers not on tap anywhere else.  My husband enjoyed a vanilla coffee stout from Braxton and a flight of beers ranging from mead to a barrel aged porter.  If you like what you try, head inside the Party Store and pick it up!

Braxton Labs

Flight at Braxton

After that, we decided to head downtown in search of a new restaurant.  We parked in a garage, walked around for a while, and stumbled upon The Booksellers on Fountain Square.  Ummm.  I’m embarrassed that I’ve never shopped here before!  We leisurely perused books, picked one to read together this summer, and grabbed a cup of coffee. It’s so nice to support live-in-the-flesh-brick-and-mortar-not-online bookstores! Plus, we got a recommendation from a staff member and avid reader.

The first summer read from The Booksellers.

By that time, we were hungry!  I’d heard wonderful reviews of Maplewood Kitchen and Bar so we walked there in hopes of an open table.  While this farm-to-table restaurant is beautifully decorated in sophisticated neutrals and all these interesting little details, it’s not the least bit pretentious.  It’s like elevated fast casual.  We enjoyed every bite of our Chicken Tinga and Guajillo Chicken Bowl. Each bite was fresh, savory, and packed with flavor.

Chicken Tinga: chipotle braised chicken, crispy tostada, charred tomatillo salsa, black bean puree, two cage free over easy eggs

Guajillo Chicken Bowl: quinoa and farro blend, guajillo chicken, smokey black beans, roasted corn, avocado, pickled red onion, mizuna, queso fresco, charred tomatillo salsa

Cornflake Cookie (decadent)

Trying to work off the decadent Cornflake Cookie we shared as an appetizer (don’t judge),  we walked to the 21C Museum, which is always free, and decided to check it out since the art rotates quite frequently.  Holding hands, we discussed paintings and sculptures . . . until . . . we caught a glimpse of the Streetcar!  Literally, we ran down the steps of 21C to catch a ride! I kind of have a small obsession with trolleys and trains so why not streetcars?  The Streetcar stops at all major locations in the downtown/OTR area (Washington Park, Findlay Market, the Banks, Fountain Square, etc).

First time riding the streetcar!

We hopped off at Washington Park because even though we didn’t know what was happening, we could tell something was going on. Turns out there was live music surrounded by food tents.  In the spirit of being spontaneous, we rented Red Bikes to cruise the park.  Such a blast!  We probably road those Red Bikes inside and outside the park 10 times.  We even rode through the water fountains which were all lit up in the dusk. If you’re at all worried about these bikes, like I was, they are sturdy and easy to ride!  Plus, you can pick up a bike in one location and return it in another!

Red bikes at Washington Park

Physically tired and emotionally invigorated, we caught the Streetcar, rode the entire loop, and got back off at Fountain Square only to find New Kingston performing live!  This reggae band delivers quite the concert (and again, this was free)! Be sure to check out the upcoming events- there’s even a trivia night?!  What?!  Wave to me June 5th, because I will be there!


I love this city!  Seriously love it. Cincinnati offers so much if you’re willing to explore!  As I’ve said many times, I am always a tourist.  I’m still smiling from this date night and so very thankful I didn’t take that nap and put on those pajamas.  Every single thing we did Friday was new, was an adventure, was an experience.

GO THERE (Downtown)!  TRY THAT (Exploring Spontaneously)!

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Maplewood Kitchen and Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato